Taking My Own Advice

I've always felt like the moment you put something on paper, the moment you type something out…it becomes official.

Maybe it's silly, maybe it's the writer in me, but alas, it's this thing I have.

So I suppose the time has come to type the following - I was chosen to be an Karen Azenberg's SDCF Observer at The Pioneer Theatre Company, for their production of It Happened One Christmas. I'm trying to be very eloquent at the moment. But really, if we're being honest, all I want to to say is - 

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

(again and again and again - AHH. And all the happy smiley emoticons. The one's with the heart eyes, too.)

See, in the spirit of honesty, I've always wanted to be a director. I saw my first Broadway show in 1991, and I think it's safe to say I've had a love of theatre and storytelling ever since.

But, I'm a little too practical for my own good at times. 

Perhaps it was fear of rejection. Perhaps it was just good old fashioned practicality. Perhaps it was a constant internal battle, wondering if I was good enough….

…who knows.

But, when I came out of college, I went right to graduate school for theatre education. To me, that was the smart move. The grown up move. The practical move.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love teaching. I'll always love teaching. I spent last year teaching six periods of theatre to the brightest kids I've ever met - and directing them in their school productions. They taught me more about education and life and art more than any class I ever taught in graudate school.

And most of all, they taught me to take my own advice.

Go after what you want, I would tell them.

Don't let anyone tell you you're not good enough, I would tell them.

Chase your dreams, because there are few things worse than looking back on your life with regret. I would never want any of you to go through that. 

At the end of the year, one of my student's, we'll call her Laney, said...

I hope you take your advice. I hope you chase your dreams, too.

Ah, from the mouths of babes.

I suppose it was at the end of last year that I knew I needed to make a leap. I needed to open myself to all sorts of directing opportunities, and not be tied down to a traditional classroom setting.

And so, I made the scariest decision I've ever been faced with in my professional career, and left the classroom this year.

It wasn't something I decided lightly, but, it was something I had to do. I needed to try. I didn't want to always be wondering.

I decided to apply to the SDCF Observership Program agian - but this time I wouldn't limit myself to NY theatres. (I had applied to the program for the past two years, but only limited myself to NY theatres, and I was never was placed with a director.)

Once again I got into the program, but, just because you get in, doesn't mean you get placed with a director. Once an Observership Opportunity arises, you have to write an essay/statement to the director, explaining why you want to work with them and why you're a good fit for their show. Then that director decides if they want to bring you on.

I interviewed with Karen, and she picked me.

I think I'm still in shock.

I always tell my students that one of the biggest signs of adulthood is knowing when to ask for help, and knowing when to say thank you.

Naturally, gratitude must always be paid to my parents, for supporting my wild artistic endeavours. I'd be living in my car if it weren't for them. That's no joke - it's quite true.

My brother also plays a huge role in keeping me grounded and putting things in perspective. Thanks, kiddo. 

But I'd also be remiss in not thanking my mentors who've helped me along the way - Emma, Greg, Kate, Josh, Loni, Scott, Mana, and Susan….and plenty other folks along the way. But these guys, well, they wrote me recommendations, they answered my questions, the helped me network, they gave me opportuntities to direct and produce and learn and grow - and for that I will be forever grateful.

Thank you all. For your guidance. For your trust. For sharing your wisdom. For taking a chance on me. 

We don't live in a vaccum. The relationships you make, both personally and profesisonally, are all interwoven. And in the theatre profession, the great Mana Allen would say, is a tribe. A tribe of artists, yes. But it's a tribe of people coming together to create something bigger and more beautiful than themselves. It's a tribe of people coming together to leave this world better than they found it. It's a tribe of people giving voices to those who have lost the will to speak.

Sometimes, it's easy to get swept up in competition, and forget about the tribe.

But helping one another, (no matter what your profession may be), is so vitally important. It makes your tribe stronger. It makes the world better. It makes the work last longer.

Thank you to my tribe. I'm so fortunate to know you all.